Philippines: Commission urges equitable, affordable roll out of COVID-19 vaccine
The CHR has called on the Philippine Government to ensure equal distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.
While awaiting the arrival of the much-needed COVID-19 vaccines in the country, the national government must ensure that there is equal distribution and access for communities across the country, Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana from the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines said in a statement.
This comes amidst a growing number of highly resourced local governments in urban centers and metropolitan areas lining up to gain immediate and priority access to the COVID-19 vaccines.
It is the responsibility of the national government to make sure that vaccines are as accessible for Filipinos in urban cities, as they are for those situated in far-flung areas of the country where there is a known cluster of infections.
An effective national vaccination strategy is a vital component of an efficient national health care program, and an undeniable human right.
There may be local government areas with a host of infected residents who may not have resources to urgently procure vaccines.
The national government's distribution initiative must ensure the rapid, coordinated, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all Filipinos, wherever they reside in the country.
From a human rights perspective, equitable vaccination promotes and protects the public health of the entire nation, for "no one will be secure until everyone is secure".
Since a vaccination program is part of the government's obligation to uphold the people's right to health, it must also adhere to the standards of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality. Such standards include the right to know and be assured of a vaccine's effectiveness and that it is scientifically and medically appropriate and of good quality.
If the government cannot yet fully rollout comprehensive vaccination for all, then it must work for its progressive realisation – efficiently and effectively, in partnership with possible sectors, and to the best effort and resources it can devote – until we ensure that no one is left behind.
Date: 16 January 2021
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